Putting together Halloween costumes for kids requires more than a sheet and a plastic pumpkin to gather candy. An aviator costume allows your child to not just pretend to be one of the Wright brothers—the inventors and pilots of the first airplane—but to learn about America's aviation history.
Who was Orville Wright?
Orville and Wilbur Wright were mechanically minded brothers from Ohio who became fascinated with the concept of flying machines. They spent four years researching the mechanisms of flight and testing their theories with wind tunnels and gliders before building their first biplane. On December 17, 1903, Orville piloted the first powered heavier-than-air biplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, taking flight for 12 seconds as he flew 120 feet. The brothers flew their biplane three more times that day, with Wilbur piloting the longest flight, taking the first successful airplane 852 feet in 59 seconds.
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Putting together kids' costumes
Unlike later aviators, the Wright brothers didn't wear overalls, flight suits or goggles. Instead, they wore a suit with a high-collared white shirt, tie and cap.
When putting together a retro suit and tie for your child's costume, look for a charcoal gray or black suit. You may find one at a local thrift store or through an online vendor for kids clothing. Clean used clothing and press the suit to ensure the well-dressed appearance that the Wright brothers sported during their famous flight.
A white dress shirt with a collar is a must, but if you need to stiffen the collar so it stands up properly, use a piece of index-weight paper or paperboard, such as a cereal box. Cut it to size and tuck it under the collar to stiffen the fabric to fit the dress-up style of the era.
Adding accessories to the costume
A matching solid-color tie, preferably the same color as the suit, a full-crown cap and black dress shoes or polished boots complete the outfit. If searching for the cap online, a "crown cap army cap" or "army flat top cap" is similar to the vintage cap worn during the famous flight. Don't forget Orville's mustache; it should be full but not the exaggerated handlebar mustache of the Wild West.
Carry a toy biplane under one arm or "fly" it with the appropriate sound effects while navigating the sidewalk from house to house. If your child is mobility-impaired, consider building and adding DIY biplane wings and a propeller to their mobility device to make it clear that they're piloting the famous Wright flyer on its first flight.
Dressing up as famous aviators
If your child prefers the look of a later aviator, consider dressing up as Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart or Bessie Coleman, who was the first licensed Black female aviator in America. Lindbergh was the first aviator to cross the Atlantic in a nonstop flight from New York to Paris in 1927, while Earhart was the first woman to accomplish the feat on her solo flight in 1932.
Brown or greenish-gray pants with matching shirts, fabric or leather long jackets and midcalf or over-the-knee polished boots make full outfits for kids. Add an aviator cap and steampunk-style goggles for cosplay or a Halloween costume party.